From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
Benue State Government has reiterated its call for the removal of Inspector – General of Police,IGP Idris Ibrahim, accusing him of complicity in the murder of innocent citizens of the state.
The call comes against the backdrop of recent comment credited to the IGP during his appearance before the Joint Senate Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence on the Benue killings.
The IGP had claimed that the implementation of the anti-open grazing law and the arming of Tiv militia was the cause of the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
He also, alleged that public display of corpses coupled with unguarded and inciting speeches by the State Governor Samuel Ortom before and during the mass burial renewed violent clashes in Makurdi metropolis, adding that allegation by the Governor that armed militia were being camped in Tunga, Awe local government area of Nasarawa State to unleash mayhem on Benue people was untrue.
Idris therefore called on the governor to suspend the implementation of the anti-open grazing law.
Responding to allegations made by the IGP, the State Commissioner of Information Lawrence Onoja Jr, accused the Police head of partiality, noting that such comments coming from some of the nation’s top Security Chiefs may have confirmed the fears expressed by many people that the herdsmen unleashing murderous attacks on Benue may have backing of some highly placed individuals within the security apparatus of state.
“When those who are entrusted with the sensitive task of protecting lives and property of innocent Nigerians resort to placing unjustified blames on the good intentions of the Benue State Government to promote peace and security, then such people have unknowingly or knowingly become part of the problem we have on our hands today in the country.
“The Benue State Government hereby completely rejects that statement coming from the nation’s top Police officer who should have received available records to confirm that there have been more than 47 attacks by Fulani herdsmen on Benue State before the state’s anti-open grazing law came into being and some of these attacks happened years before the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom came into office. The IGP statement is highly provocative, insensitive and completely violates the basic principles of natural Justice with his bias against innocent people of Benue State.
“By his own admission which he has not denied, Ibrahim has demonstrated his incompetence as a Police Chief and we have no confidence and trust in him since clearly he either lacks the capacity to apprehend these armed Fulani militia or by his inaction and utterances, portrayed himself as complicit in the grand plot to dispossess our people off their ancestors land by violent means, “ Onoja said.
He called on the Federal Government to immediately relieve the IGP from his position because he has failed woefully in his duties especially as the two weeks ultimatum given him by the Senate to apprehend the killers herdsmen has elapsed without any meaningful arrests of the culprits but resorted to unprofessional blame trading rather than confronting the problem with fear or favor.